Recently, a college student from our church helped us with some landscaping. We did not know him before that day but he seemed to be a thoughtful young man. Over lunch, Cheryl asked him the question, “What do you see as the greatest threat to our youth today?”

As he pondered his answer, I anticipated what he might say.

Declining morality? The economy? Terrorism? Pornography?

He started with none of the above. His answer…“I am an observer. I see so many parents distracted by so many things. They are not paying close attention to their children as they grow up.” Not what we expected as a first response.

He was talking about more than just being in the same house with children or in the same room. He referred to time spent interacting with a child, getting to know him or her, sharing wisdom with them, walking the twisty path of this life with them. How many parents turn around and their children are 14 and already headed down the wrong path?

“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”

–Proverbs 9:4 and 9:16

In Proverbs, the “simple” are described as those who are easily led either to good or to evil. They are “simply” naïve because they are without experience. In this way, simple also describes our children.

Solomon wrote Proverbs “to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth.” He understood the two competing paths which he named Folly and Wisdom. In Chapter 9, he describes Folly and Wisdom as two women, each calling out to the simple to “turn in here.”

This is the competition where Satan is continually at work. Sexual sin is the most powerful example of his work, for it is here that our youth can be seduced into the most profound and longest lasting consequences. Without the wisdom and involvement of astute and observant parents, our children can be easily captured.

Folly doesn’t whisper. She shouts to the simple from her prominent place…

The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town,  calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way,  Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” And to him who lacks sense she says, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.   –Proverbs 9:13-18

Notice it is the simple who lack sense. What is the sense necessary to recognize Folly and turn to Wisdom?

Sense comes from understanding the words, the models, and the warning labels.

The words – Folly offers lying words. This is Satan’s only tool. But the power of her offer is that you don’t have to wait. No thought for the future. You can have it here and you can have it now.

The ModelsFolly has many guests in her house. From celebrities to peers, they are the spokespersons and all appear to be having a good time reveling in Folly’s house.

Folly’s convincing words often come not when your teen is by himself, pondering his path; the words usually come from a powerful group of spokes-models — peers. And the lure is, “Come and go with us!”

The Warning LabelsDown in Folly’s house, there are no warnings to confuse or disturb. The simple do not see the outcome of her seductions. They go on their way unhindered by the truth.

The good news is that Wisdom also beckons to the simple, calling with true words and the promise of life. She does provide warning labels to those who reject her. And, she openly invites the simple to consider the outcome of the lives of those who follow her advice.

Solomon describes the urgings of Wisdom…

“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”  To him who lacks sense she says,  “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.  Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”     –Proverbs 9:4-6

Parents, this is a priority—to teach your children how to discern between Folly and Wisdom. It can only be accomplished with lots of time and attention.